SpaceX launch lights up night sky in Southern California

Amy Powell

Amy Powell

On Sunday night-for the first time since July-SpaceX will attempt to launch a satellite into space, and then land part of the rocket back on its base.

The launch was scheduled at 07:21 p.m. EDT when the nine Merlin 1D engines mounted on the boosters throttled to its full capacity producing thrust capable of raising the 229-foot rocket from Launch Complex 4-East at the Vandenberg Air Force Base. If SpaceX is planning to reuse B1048 a third time with SSO-A, that will demand a record-breaking turnaround for the booster, as few as 42 days between landing #2 and launch #3. But that's possible only when launching relatively light payloads to not-too-distant orbits; on other missions, there's not enough fuel left for the Falcon 9 first stage to maneuver all the way back to land.

The company, led by Elon Musk, sells launches on used Falcon 9 first-stage boosters at a discount, compared to the 62-million-U.S. -dollar price of a launch on a new Falcon 9 rocket.

In California launched a rocket Falcon 9 SpaceX with the Argentine satellite SAOCOM-1A.

The Saocom-1A launch places SpaceX one mission away from tying its record of 18 launches in one year, set in 2017.

Landing and refurbishing first-stage boosters are key to SpaceX's plans to decrease launch costs.

Jeff Nguyen of CBS Los Angeles reports from Ventura, California.

SAOCOM-1A's radar measurements will track soil-moisture levels, thereby aiding forecasts of crop yields. Previously, the SpaceX ground landings all have been occurred at the company's launch site: Cape Canaveral, Florida, where the company has a pair of launch and landing pads.

Those who knew they were watching a satellite launch posted videos they captured of the stunning spectacle, including one taken over the downtown Los Angeles skyline and a timelapse from Kern County. It will also-in partnership with the Italian COSMO-SkyMed X-Band SAR constellation-assist with rapid response during natural disasters.